Homecoming pageant weaves a spark of Minerland magic

Leonardo Montañez, Staff reporter

The 2013 UTEP Homecoming Pageant was truly colorful this year as students ran for king and queen dressed as Disney movie characters with the Minerland theme.

The pageant began at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at Magoffin Auditorium with a dance number containing all of the 32 candidates (23 females and nine males), with a potpourri of music and choreography by Anai Ramirez and Pamela Isita, Student Government Association senators.

The masters of the ceremony were Monica Castillo, a deejay from Power 102, and Daniel James Veale, director of marketing and promotions for UTEP athletics.

The event included entertainment numbers between the main events of the pageant such as the Allegro Dance Company, the band FEVER and last spring’s UTEP talent show winner Arturo Gonzalez.

The pageant continued with the spirit wear competition, where the participants talked about their organizations, UTEP spirit, their theme character and why they chose it. Characters and movies ranged from old-school Disney such as “Jungle Book” and “Pinocchio” to more recent ones like “Up” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

Many of the numbers included either a scene from their chosen movie, a song whose lyrics were changed to fit the orange and blue spirit or an act, which ultimately revealed each student’s experiences at UTEP.

Many of the movies were repeatedly chosen such as “Jungle Book,” “Up” and “Wreck-it Ralph,” but some students had some more unique choices such as “Mulan,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Tarzan.”

Cassandra Hernandez, junior organizational and corporal communications major, who represented Zeta Tau Alpha with her “Jungle Book” theme, said that although this was her first time participating in the homecoming pageant, it helped her grow as a student, forcing her to keep track of her daily activities due to the mandatory practices that the event required.

“It has been a great experience–you get to make many good friends and meet new people because we meet every weekend,” Hernandez said.  “However, this actually forced me to have better time management, but it is all a learning experience.”

Jacqueline Macias, senior biology major and UTEP’s 2012 homecoming queen, explained that the king and queen engage in various activities throughout the week to represent UTEP.

“We are representatives of the university, so you get to talk to different news media about homecoming week and to promote how great UTEP is,” Macias said. “You also get to be a student voice by visiting the Golden Grads, the Alumni Association, meet with students, among others things.”

According to Macias, the roll of last year’s king and queen at the 2013 pageant was to crown the new winners of the contest.

“It feels great to be crowning someone else, it helps passing the custom of homecoming because we are all about spirit and tradition,” Macias said. “I’m glad to see someone else take the crown for the next year and hoping that they do an equal or better job.”

The show continued with the formal attire walk, and from there on the show stopped the Disney-theme and turned into a UTEP walk.

The judges then decided upon the top five ladies and five gentlemen, who where then asked questions concerning UTEP spirit and how would they represent the university. This was followed by the announcement of the homecoming court.

Danielle De La Paz, sophomore general studies major representing the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, was picked as queen of the 2013 homecoming court.

“It was quite unexpected because I was going up against some young, great women,” De La Paz said. “They all had what it took to become this year’s queen.”

According to De La Paz, she will represent UTEP by maintaining the great school spirit and energy.

“I will strive to maintain the amazing Miner pride because I love the energy of this school,” De La Paz said. “And now that the centennial approaches, I hope that I can continue on the path of helping others become excited about UTEP.”

Dominic Chacon, junior environmental science major representing the Residence Hall Association and College Republicans, was named homecoming king and said that he feels honored to have won.

“It is such a great time to be the king and I can’t wait to go out there and network with people and represent UTEP in a great way,” Chacon said.

Chacon plans to represent UTEP by speaking about the great potential at the university.

“I just want to talk it up like crazy,” Chacon said. “I want to talk about UTEP, because I feel that its potential is undermined and I think I can help people realize that.”

SGA President Paulina Lopez, senior corporate and organizational communications major, said that she spent many sleepless nights putting together the event with the help of the many organizations.

“Everyone on SGA and everyone who helped organizing this event since early June, contributed enormously. I think that it was worth it,” Lopez said. “This is the biggest pageant that the university has ever had.”

Lopez said that Minerland fits the theme for this year’s pageant since the centennial is near.

“I think Minerland is perfect because it is where dreams come true, the land of enchantment,” Lopez said.

Kassandra Reyes, senior organization and corporate communication and collegiate liberal arts senator said that she loved the Minerland theme.

“I think this years theme since is really cool, it gives us the opportunity to really embrace the theme that all dreams come true,” Reyes said. “As college students we have the chance to feel like kids again and reminisce on our childhood moments; ultimately letting us be engaged in this homecoming week in a very fun way.”

Raul Armendariz junior environmental science major and last years homecoming king said that thanks to his participatio this experience brought him a lot of spirit and pride in himself.

“Being in the pageant last year and winning king definitely took me out of my comfort zone but it ultimately helped me be sure of myself and practice my social skills,” Armendariz said. “I also had the opportunity to attend several events during the homecoming week, meeting a lot of students and UTEP alumni.”

Armendariz said that the pageant also shows the effort that contestant put into each category of the competition.

“SGA has worked really hard to makes sure that this event is a really cool experience for everybody on stage as well as the students on the audience. This event is certainly something not to be taken lightly,” Armendariz said.

Leonardo Montañez may be reached at [email protected]